The Buccaneers, led by
So, we've got two passing teams and two exploitable secondaries. You have to think the quarterback who makes the fewest mistakes leads his team to victory, and I see
• In the second quarter, facing second-and-eight from the Chiefs' 16, Cutler hit
• One quarter later, Cutler tried something similar and got burned. From his own 40, he tried to squeeze a pass to
In Week 3 Griese went absolutely wild on the Bears, who inexplicably traded him to Tampa Bay for an undisclosed 2009 draft pick in the off-season despite their dire quarterback situation. In that game, Griese set personal career bests in attempts (67), completions (38) and yards (407) while leading the Bucs to a 27-24 overtime win at Soldier Field -- and he did it in the face of serious pressure for three quarters. (Chicago pretty much rolled over in the fourth and OT.) Watching that game, you couldn't help but imagine
Afterward, Griese talked straight. "I can't lie to you guys," he told reporters. "The game meant a lot to me, personally, coming back." Makes sense. If I were sent packing in favor of Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, I'd have some lingering issues, too.
Well, it's two weeks later, and now he gets Denver. The Broncos fooled around with Griese from 1998 to 2002, then dumped him for the admittedly sexier (at least in the football sense)
So how bad is Denver's defense, really? Clearly the Broncos have an undersized front four, and that's trouble. So far they remind me of the 2007 Bears, who overloaded on pass rushers (
The key to playing Denver is this: Keep yourself in a position in which you can afford to run the ball late in the game. Kansas City was the first team this year to rush more than 18 times against the Broncos, and the results were devastating: 213 yards on the ground (no previous Denver opponent had topped 100), two touchdowns and the Broncos' first loss of 2008.
More often than not, though, Denver's offense puts up plenty of points by the second quarter, forcing opponents to turn to the air to catch up. And despite what the numbers say, the Broncos still have some able bodies in the secondary. Pass, pass, pass for three quarters and you're bound to rack up some yards.
Here's what all that means for the Bucs: They have to start with a heavy dose of
Looking back at the draft, Denver never had a chance at
Of the five other tackles drafted in the first round, only Carolina's
Of the 40 or so pass plays Denver will run on Sunday, try to spend at least 10 watching Clady. Pay extra-close attention to his quick feet, as well as to the way he extends and uses his arms.
"They sit on routes. They recognize routes well. They're pretty much going to play zone and they make you beat them underneath. You've got to throw underneath against them -- that's the bottom line."
ANALYSIS: The numbers on tight ends don't necessarily back up our scout. Of the four starting tight ends Tampa has faced, only
On paper, this is one of the greatest shootouts in recent memory. In reality, I think